The field for the 2018 Ohio Valley Conference Men's Basketball Championship fell into place on the final day of the regular season Saturday.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, the No. 8 seed, will open play with a first-round contest against No. 5 seed Tennessee Tech Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
"We're fortunate that we have put ourselves into position to get into the tournament," SIUE head coach Jon Harris said following the Cougars' loss to Eastern Illinois Saturday. "We're there, it's a new season and anything can happen in Evansville."
Murray State will be the No. 1 seed after winning its record 25th OVC regular season championship. The Racers finished 16-2 in OVC play, are 24-5 overall and have won 11-straight games entering the postseason. Belmont, who had been the top seed each of the past two years, will be the No. 2 seed after finishing 15-3 in league play. The Bruins are 23-8 overall on the season. The Racers and Bruins each receive double byes to the semifinals of the tournament and will open play on Friday night.
Austin Peay, the 2016 tournament champions, earned the No. 3 seed while defending champion Jacksonville State will be the No. 4 seed. Both of those teams receive a single bye to Thursday's quarterfinals.
The field is rounded out No. 5 seed Tennessee Tech, No. 6 seed Tennessee State, No. 7 seed Eastern Illinois and No. 8 seed SIUE.
Since 2011 the men's bracket has used a merit-based system that gives the No. 1 and 2 seeds a double bye to the semifinals while the No. 3 and 4 seeds get a single bye to the quarterfinals. The first round will match up the No. 5/8 and No. 6/7 seeds.
This year marks the first time the event has been held at the Ford Center, which opened in 2011 and is located in the core of Evansville's downtown district.
The OVC women's tournament also is set. Belmont won its second regular-season title and the No. 1 seed. UT Martin is the No. 2 seed while SIUE earned the No. 3 seed followed by Jacksonville State, Morehead State, Austin Peay, Southeast Missouri and Murray State.
The championship will be held Wednesday, February 28, through Saturday, March 3, at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana.
The entire tournament will be streamed on the OVC Digital Network and ESPN3.
OVC Men's Basketball Tournament
First Round - Wednesday, February 28
Game 1 - #5 Tennessee Tech vs. #8 SIUE - 6:30 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Game 2 - #6 Tennessee State vs. #7 Eastern Illinois - 8:30 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Quarterfinals - Thursday, March 1
Game 3 - #4 Jacksonville State vs. Game 1 Winner - 6:30 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Game 4 - #3 Austin Peay vs. Game 2 Winner - 8:30 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Semifinals - Friday, March 2
Game 5 - #1 Murray State vs. Game 3 winner, 7:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 6 - #2 Belmont vs. Game 4 winner, 9:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
Championship - Saturday, March 3
OVC Women's Basketball Tournament
First Round – Wednesday, February 28
Game 1 - #1 Belmont vs. #8 Murray State - 1 p.m.
Game 2 - #2 UT Martin vs. #7 Southeast Missouri – 3 p.m.
Quarterfinals – Thursday, March 1
Game 3 - #4 Jacksonville State vs. #5 Morehead State – 1 p.m
Game 4 -#3 SIUE vs. #6 Austin Peay – 3 p.m.
Semifinals – Friday, March 2
Game 5 – Game 1 winner vs. Game 3 winner – 1 p.m.
Game 6 – Game 2 winner vs. Game 4 winner – 3 p.m.
Championship – Saturday, March 3
Game 7 – Semifinal winners – 2 p.m.